"I have the absolute WORST post-drinking guilt" my cousin's text read on a Sunday afternoon around 4pm. She was flying home from a wedding in Chicago and I was nursing a hangover from a day long Cinco de Mayo party gone totally wrong. "oh my god - chill out, you couldn't possibly have done something that bad, or at least nothing half as bad as what I did yesterday" I texted back from underneath the comfort and protection of the six blankets on my couch, that were physically and mentally "helping" me to block out any and all flash-backs from the previous nights debauchery. "Well... I slapped the grooms ass on the dance floor, the bride's cousin saw it and tried to full on fight me mid- Macarena" she quickly responded. While I couldn't help but laugh, I did actually feel for my cousin and the minor lapse in judgement she had made post champagne toasts, regardless of the fact that for some reason there actually does seem to be quite a bit of ass slapping at all weddings, or at least that's what I proceeded to tell her in an attempt to ease her pain.
"What the hell am I doing with my life?" she asked when we talked on the phone later that night. "I mean, I think we're now at the age where we should start to get some things right, right?" she asked in the most serious of tones.
"Hell, I don't know... Are we?" was my only response and as I headed to bed that night I contemplated her question and wondered if I actually have reached the age where I should start to get some things right....
"So if money wasn't an option and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?" I asked while shooting him an inquisitive glare over the rim of a glass half full of dark red wine. He was perfect on paper - a southern gentleman who frequented Denver on business, wining and dining me every time he blew through town. He had played basketball in the NBA post college, even did a stint playing in the European league before he landed back home in Houston, close to his mother's home cooking, his new niece and his passion. "Well, if I could do anythannng" he replied with that southern drawl that originally caught my attention in a swanky downtown hotel bar the night we met, "I would fish. I would hunt quite a bit too - but marlin fishing is the thing that makes me the happiest."
"Fair enough", I thought. At least the man knows what he likes and thank the lord on high it's not gambling or god forbid- video games. The next morning on the way to drop him off at his respective hotel before heading to work, I caught myself staring at him while stopped at a red light. Here was this well-established, older, ridiculously handsome man who, for some god-forsaken reason had taken an interest in me - a clapped up mess of a 24 year old, yet somehow, I knew despite all of the great things about him, he just wasn't it. I knew this thing between us wouldn't last and unlike most girls (ahem... blondes) who I'm sure consistently throw themselves at him, I just couldn't bring myself to actually believe that he was right for me or that he ever would be. That said, even after the moment of clarity at the stop light and a few more moments after that- I continued to sit across from him, breaking bread, drinking wine and talking life whenever he came to town for months after.
It was also circa the time that the Texan and I were entertaining each other with monthly dinners and the excitement of random texts in between, that I decided to make a career move. I had only been at my organization for one year and as much as I loved my job and my co-workers, I took a chance in applying for an incredible position that I felt I was highly under-qualified for, yet by some total grace of God, I landed the job.
"I hope you know how grateful I am for all of the opportunities that have been given to me here" I said, choking back tears in my boss's office giving her an elaborate speech that culminated in me putting in my two weeks notice. "While I'm excited for you, I just hope you are making the right decision" she replied as I stood to go, only adding to the extreme anxiety and the nervousness that I felt in leaving the familiarity of my old job behind. "Yeah, me too" I said quickly before running out of our office building in tears and straight into a mid-afternoon Colorado torrential downpour. "fuck this." I thought as I looked up to the sky, letting the rain drops hit my face and smear my mascara for dramatic effect.
"the right decision?!?! I'm only 24!!" I thought angrly to myself "how am I supposed to know what the right decision is??"
-------A couple weeks into my new job and a couple weeks after the last time I had seen the Texan, I found myself digging through my enormous purse in my car that was parked outside of our local liquor store. I was picking up beer for mid-week bbq that I had decided to attend instead of going to the gym, creating another excuse for the third day in a row. "Why can't you get anything right??" I thought to myself while desperately searching for my misplaced ID. I was muttering profanities out loud about how I should've just bit the bullet and gone to spinning instead of consuming ungodly amounts of calories in the beer and burgers I was about to chow down on, when a song came through the speakers that made me stop digging/cursing altogether. I sat back in my seat and listened. I closed my eyes and felt it. And as the lyrics washed over me, I felt them sink in. They sank down to the place where the uncertainties about the Texan or any current new man in my life lies, they sank deep into the insecurities about my new job and the new co-workers that I'm just not quite comfortable with yet. The words sank into my post-drinking guilt and my recently horrid gym routine, they sank into all aspects of my life that haven't reached their full potential and at that moment, I realized that while I absolutely want to do right in life, I'm still getting there. I'm still on the path to figuring out what those "right" things are. Yes, i'll make some mistakes along the way, yes I'll take some wrong turns or accept some free dinners just because. Hell who knows, maybe i'll even slap a grooms ass on the dance floor at a wedding (hoping that one never actually happens), but in all seriousness - its just not yet the time for me, not right now. And as I shut my car door ID and cash in hand, I walked towards the liquor store feeling much lighter.
"How'd that white wine work out with the fish last week?" the all too familiar man behind the counter asked as I paid for the beers. "eh, it wasn't the one, I should've picked the other bottle" I replied. "Well Miss, you can't always pick the right one" he said with a wink as I breezed out the door.
Pulling out of the parking lot I found myself humming the song that had changed my perspective. And as I turned onto my friends street for yet another night of drinking, laughing and not working out, I repeated the chorus of the song out loud and felt so very comforted in the lyrics and in that particular moment of clarity.
"I wanna do right, but not right now."